School board OKs instrument, scoreboard purchases

Dana Guthrie
Staff Writer

The Benton School District will sound a little sweeter after the purchase of new band instruments to replace several that have been in use for decades.

Members of the school board unanimously approved the purchase of the instruments from South Dakota-based company Taylor Music using 2017-2018 Growth Funds during Monday’s meeting.

“We have more students that are coming in from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and can’t afford some of the instruments,” said Superintendent Mike Skelton. “It’s been awhile, I think, since we have made a purchase this major to assist with students that can’t necessarily afford instruments. This is an opportunity for us to supplement what we already have.”
Skelton also stated that there are a number of instruments that are outdated. Band Director Tricia Moffett also echoed that statement.

“On a middle school instrument, we have about a 10-year lifespan before the repair shop says ‘you can’t solder anything else back on to that,’” Moffett said. “On our high school instruments, I can tell you that our current sousaphones are from 1940 and 1950. The repair shop told me point-blank ‘we can’t do anything else for you.’”
Moffett also added that some instruments are being held together by electrical tape.

“It’s a lot of money and we try to stretch things as far as we possibly can,” Moffett said.
Moffett told the board that she normally budgets to purchase one instrument each year, but the middle school and junior high budgets cannot support that.
Skelton also added that they now have a three-year plan in place in order to get the music department caught up with newer instruments.

“This is a good start,” Skelton said. “It’s a step in the right direction, but there is still more that needs to be done. This is what we felt like we could do for this year. We will add to it next year and then the year after.”
The total cost for the current purchase is $88,524.35.

“The proposal that I gave (Skelton) for the three-year target to meet all of our needs is around $150,000,” Moffett said. “This gets us a good way down that road.”
The board also approved the purchases of two scoreboards.

The athletic department requested approval to move forward with the purchases which will total $116,792.41.

The Fair-Play LED scoreboard system for the basketball arena will replace the current Nevco system that has been in the arena since it was constructed. The system has had several maintenance issues and there are currently no Nevco dealers in the state that are able to repair the current issues.

The system will be purchased from Rainey Electronics which is based in Arkansas and has a history with the district, providing “good service on other Fair-Play scoreboards.” The $50,486.62 cost includes removal of the old system.
The second scoreboard purchase is for the the baseball field and is separate from the construction of the new field.

Also from Rainey Electronics, the Fair-Play system is priced at $66,306.79 and includes installation.
Panther Pride Awards were given to a number of individuals during the meeting.
All the principals and assistant principals from each school in the district were recognized in honor of National Principals Month.

Jenny Parnell and BMS were recognized for receiving the Dollar General Grant.

Caitlin Ginther was recognized as the high school DAR Good Citizen for the 2018-19 school year. The DAR Good Citizen exemplifies dependability, service, leadership and patriotism. Ginther will now compete for DAR scholarships at the state and national levels.

Jade Dorman has been named a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist and was recognized for her achievement. Dorman will now compete to be named a National Merit finalist.

Other items approved by the board include:

•Annual resolution for Act 1120.

•Approval of proposed landscape contracts.

•Approval of a Memorandum of Understanding between the BSD and the Arkansas Public School Resource Center.

All meetings are open to the public and attendance is encouraged.